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Help for district budget wanted

Posted: Monday, August 16, 2004

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is seeking community members to help plan for the 2005-06 school year.

The district has revamped its traditional budget review committee, and new members are needed to help design the district's financial plan for next school year.

Committee membership requires a four-day commitment and an open mind.

The committee will meet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 1 and 2 at the Kenai Merit Inn for background education. Members will receive a Citizen's Budget Handbook, hear presentations from individual district departments and learn about the budget process.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 26, the committee will break into subcommittees to focus on various aspects of the district budget: instruction, instructional support, support services and general administration. They will make their recommendations to the district before officials begin compiling the fiscal year 2006 budget.

Then, after the preliminary budget has been drafted, the committee will reassemble Jan. 5 to review the document.

This process is different than past years, as the committee is meeting earlier in the fall. Traditionally, a budget review committee has been formed after the turn of the calendar year to go through a document already prepared by district officials.

However, officials said they believe that method leaves committee members feeling as though they have no real impact.

"We very clearly need to do things a bit differently," chief financial officer Melody Douglas told the school board earlier this month. "The most significant change is a very clear delineation of when we're doing this (hearing from the public) in relation to the development of the budget. ... Ordinarily, we're putting it together with the understanding that we're in a tight box. The perception is that people have no input."

Community members from throughout the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District are encouraged to apply for the committee. There currently is no limit on membership, and applicants rarely are turned away from the committee process.

Lunch will be provided on meeting days, and committee members may request mileage reimbursement as needed.

To apply, download an application by visiting the district Web site at www.kpbsd. k12.ak.us and clicking on the "Budget Review Committee" link or call Lassie Nelson at 714-8888 for more information. All applications must be received by Sept. 15.



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